Three Thoughts on Refugees
As I sat across from Zara, my mind was flooded with thoughts. I’m face-to-face, deep in conversation with a young Muslim lady about what it means to follow Christ. My husband and I had moved our lives to the Middle East to have opportunities like this and now, here I was getting the opportunity in a tiny mountain town in the United States.
Zara is a refugee from Bosnia. She came to the United States in the midst of the Bosnian War when she was only three years old. Growing up in a Muslim family, Zara always assumed she believed in Islam.
The atrocities of war moved Zara from an unreached people group to the Bible-belt of the United States. After meeting several Christians at her school, Zara began to consider Christianity. One by one, God put people in her life to show His love for her. These glimpses of Him would have been much more scarce growing up in a predominantly Muslim Bosnia.
I instantly thought of David Platt’s mantra, “God has got this whole thing rigged.” Hang with me, now. Let’s think about it.
1. God is Sovereign. And He sovereignly has chosen His children to spread His gospel. (2 Corinthians 5:20)
If war didn’t rip through Bosnia, Zara wouldn’t have been in the United States, sitting across from me face-to-face, asking me what it meant to be a follower of Christ. God sovereignly brought Zara to the United States. God sovereignly placed me in her life. These are no coincidences. These are opportunities to share the gospel.
WHAT IF God is so big that He’s even able to redeem war for the spread of His glory?
2.We are exiles of this earth. (Hebrews 11:13-16)
As Christians, this world is not our home. We are all strangers in a foreign land. Remembering this fact causes us to love and serve the people God places around us. We no longer see refugees as the foreigner, remembering that this “home” is temporary for all of Christ’s followers. We should welcome those who were forced to leave their home and love them as Christ loves the Church.
WHAT IF God is using the refugee crisis to place unreached people groups right in our neighborhoods? What if that is part of His global plan to spread His glory to the ends of the earth?
3. Hospitality Matters To God
Leviticus 19:33–34: "When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God."
Hebrews 13:1–2 says, "Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
Why does hospitality matter to God?
“God's hospitality is motivated by his unwavering commitment to the glory of his own name. Grace is the hospitality of God to welcome sinners not because of their goodness but because of his glory. If God chose not to magnify the glory of his own self-sufficiency, and instead to enrich himself by looking for talented and virtuous housemates, there would be no grace in the world, and no hospitality, and no salvation. We owe our eternal life to grace, and grace is God's disposition to glorify his freedom and power and wealth by showing hospitality to sinners.” - John Piper
Welcoming the refugees around us is an opportunity given by God to put His glory on display. You may be the first chance someone has ever had to hear His name. It’s an opportunity to pour grace over them because grace has been poured out over you. Out of God’s hospitality to us, we’ve been made heirs to His kingdom. Now, as examples of the gospel and for the glory of Jesus Christ, we get the opportunity to extend that hospitality to those among us.
WHAT IF God has orchestrated our global economy, redeemed international wars, positioned global crises all for the spread of His glory?
His ways are higher than ours. Jump in and be a part of the spread of His kingdom, right in your neighborhood and to the ends of the earth.